French electro gurus Phoenix have spoken out about the language barrier, and admit that they suffered due to singing in English.
The French are a proud nation. While in Britain we don’t give two hoots where a tune comes from as long as it provokes a reaction, in France they actually have guidelines to ensure that a majority of music heard on French radio actually hails from the Gallic nation.
Until recently, it was the norm for French groups to sing in French. Musicians who chose to sing in English were shunned, and found it difficult to operate in the music industry due to those emotionally charged beliefs.
Electro group Phoenix are notable in that they have never sung in French, with lead singer Thomas Mars choosing to use English. In a new interview the frontman reveals that despite their obvious talent the group struggled to gain attention.
Referring to the language issues, Mars told Australian radio station Triple J that “we had a hard time yes.”
“You couldn’t get a record deal at the beginning but for us there was never really a choice. I don’t really want to I have not really a choice.”
“I feel like, you know, opera was in Italian… you just use the common vector. And it doesn’t work to replace things you know. When we find songs we like, it’s 80% that come out in English and 20% in Italian.”
Phoenix recently released their new album ‘Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’. The group’s first new material since 2006, it was recorded in Paris by Cassius’s Philippe Zdar who co-produced and mixed the album.
Preceded by the free download single ‘1901’ the album is one of Phoenix’s most refined efforts to date. A stunning mixture of electro and pop, it was greeted rapturously by the group’s fans – yes, even those in France.